What is your full name?
Donna Lynn Patterson
When were you born?
December 30, a long time ago.
How many children do you have?
I have 3, I wanted 4.
When was your first baby born?
Nov 3, 1970.
What was that experience like?
Um, it was scary. Well, not the whole pregnancy, just the birth. The pregnancy was good. John told me I was pregnant.
How did he know?
I would eat breakfast, and it would come right back up. I thought I had un ulcer because I had ulcers before, but he said “Nope, you’re pregnant.” So I went to the doctor and had a pregnancy test and yep, he was right, I was pregnant! So once I got past the morning sickness, which was only about 3 and a half months, I felt good. Really good! I hadn’t felt that good for a long time, I had always been sickly, but while I was pregnant, I felt good. A month after we got married, I got Strep Throat and it turned into Rheumatic fever and the doctor told me to wait at least two years before getting pregnant. I had always been underweight, and so when I started putting on weight and feeling good, I thought, “Oh, this is great!”
I worked at a doctor’s office and I would weigh myself each day. One day I gained 10 pounds. 10 pounds in one day! I said something to my office manager, and she scolded me and told me I needed to get to my doctor because that wasn’t healthy. And that didn’t make me feel good. So I had my appointment and he watched me for a while. As it turned out, I had toxemia preeclampsia.
So I saw my doctor at a regular visit and I was just thinking it would be a routine visit, but he told John to get me over the Little Company of Mary right away, and get me admitted. They put me in a room with a curtain, and there was this other woman in heavy labor on the other side of the curtain, screaming her head off. That scared me! ‘Cause I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t even know when I could get pregnant. Finally, I figured it out on my own, because I could feel when I was ovulating. I hadn’t known that was what it was, but then I recognized it. And after that, I knew how to get pregnant no problem!
Anyway, I remember they couldn’t get my blood pressure down, so they took her via C section that night. And I remember looking into the reflection of the metal lights above me to see what was happening. I couldn’t feel anything, but at least I could see a little. The lighting for the next birth had changed, so I wasn’t able to see the reflection. But I remember holding that little gal, and I just bawled. I was just so in awe! I couldn’t believe that I had this little baby to take care of!
I just talked with her on her birthday, a few days ago. She was born on election day, and her birthday fell on election day again this year. That year that she was born, I didn’t vote because obviously I was busy. And the election commission sent me a letter saying they were going to drop my name from the registered voters list because I hadn’t voted, unless I had a good excuse. So I wrote them back and told them I was having a baby on election day, and they thought that was a good enough excuse for not voting.
And then I got pregnant with our second baby, they’re 19 months apart. I had morning sickness with him a lot. It was 24/7. I couldn’t stand the smell of food. But he was worth it. I told my husband that it had to be a little boy, ‘cause a little girl wouldn’t do this to me. He was born May 31, 1972. I got to select his birthdate, he was actually due several weeks later. I wasn’t so scared this time since I knew what to expect, and had been through it before.
Did you have a cesarean because you had a cesarean before?
Yes. I wanted to have a vaginal birth, but the doctor said that my uterus had thinned twice as much as what it should have, so the doctor told my husband no more children. So I didn’t tell him when I got pregnant again. I wanted another baby. But I lost that baby on our wedding anniversary. Then I went to see the doctor again, and got checked out and everything. I asked him how long I should wait before trying again, and he must have forgotten what he told John, because he said I should wait at least two normal cycles. I said, “OK, I’ll see you in September.” I went and saw him in September and he said, “You obviously know what you’re doing!” I wanted another baby!
And with her birth, in 1975 I had a partial hysterectomy. She was born at Torrance Memorial. I had always wanted 4 children, and in a way I got my four. After she was born, my dad passed away and I had an 8 and a half year old little brother who came to live with us. He didn’t like living with us at first because I cut his hair. But after a while, he got used to it and we got on well.